Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goodbye, Amy: Family and friends gather at Miss Winehouse's funeral to pay their last respects to the tragic star

By Georgina Littlejohn and Sara Nathan

Saying goodbye: Kelly Osbourne - wearing a beehive in tribute to her friend - and friends Remi Nicole arrive at Amy Winehouse's funeral this afternoon

Friends and family of Amy Winehouse said emotional goodbyes to the star today as they came together for her funeral.

Among those paying their respects to the tragic star was her entire family, friends Kelly Osbourne, Mark Ronson and her music 'family' including her backing singers and manager.

A convoy of black vehicles with tinted windows silently made its way inside the Edgwarebury Cemetery in north London this lunchtime for the private service.

Amy, who died at her London home on Saturday aged 27, will be cremated after the service attended by her loved ones.

Family spokesman Chris Goodman said only family members and close friends would be present and added: 'Cremation is part of the family's tradition.'

Kelly, one of Amy's best friends, had flown into the UK from Los Angeles as soon as she heard the news about her death.

In mourning: Producer and DJ Mark Ronson made his way to the service on foot as did Amy's friend Nick Grimshaw

Her face was solemn as she was driven into the cemetery and she appeared to have paid tribute to her friends by styling her hair in a beehive do, similar to Amy's trademark style.

Kelly hid her eyes behind large dark sunglasses and clutched a white rose in her hands.

She was followed into the service by another of Amy's close friends, DJ and producer Mark Ronson, who looked deep in thought as he arrived on foot alone.

There was a heavy security presence outside the cemetery as guests made their way inside.

Nearest and dearest: Amy's friends and family made their way inside the cemetery to say goodbye

Winehouse's bandmates, Zalon and Heshima Thompson, who were seen in tears outside her home yesterday, were also among the select group.

Her singer songwriter friend Remi Nicole, who was very close to the star, was in tears as she got our of her car and Amy's manager Raye Cosbert cut a solemn figure as he joined the funeral party.

One person not attending today was Amy's ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who, according to sources, was refused compassionate leave from Armley Prison in Leeds.

It was also reported that he had already been warned away from the funeral by Amy's father Mitch who 'hates his guts'.

Remembering: Amy's singers Heshima and Zalon Thompson jin the mourners including Amy's manager Raye Cosbert

The service, which, according to Jewish law, had to take place as soon as possible after the star's death, was conducted by Rabbi Frank Hellmer.

The service started with prayers, they read a meditation, Mitch gave a eulogy and there were final prayers.

Shiva - the Jewish ceremony of bereavement - will be observed for two days starting at 5pm today at Schinder Hall in Southgate progressive Hall.

Amy's spokesman Chris Goodman said: 'Mitch was funny, he told some great stories from her childhood. It was a celebration. He stressed many times that she had been more content than he had been in years. Mitch paid tribute to a lot of people from Amy's life.'

Talking about her boyfriend, film director Reg Traviss, he added: 'Mitch said that they were very much looking forward to their future together.'

Alfie Ezikiel, 55, from London said that around 150 guests had attended Amy Winehouse's funeral.

He added: 'Mitch's last words to Amy in his eulogy were "Goodnight My Angel. Sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much."

'In the days before her death she told Mitch she was very happy, satisfied and content in her life. Janice was fine but she didn't do a eulogy.'

The last song that was played at the ceremony was Carole King's hit So Far Away which was Amy's favourite song.

Another guest said: 'Mitch said "Amy will be carried in peoples' hearts". There is such a big and strong community that will be looking after the family and Mitch is a very strong guy.'

A group of photographers and reporters lined the road opposite the cemetery and stood alongside a few dedicated fans who came to pay tribute.

The service comes after police revealed they will have to wait up to four weeks for the results of toxicology tests to establish her cause of death.

A post-mortem examination carried out yesterday was inconclusive and an inquest has been opened and adjourned until October 26.

Fans have been flocking to Amy's Camden home, where she was found dead on Saturday afternoon, to pray, lay flowers and remember the Back To Black singer.

Yesterday, Winehouse's father Mitch visited the street and said: 'Amy was about one thing and that was love. Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends and to you guys as well. We're devastated and I'm speechless, but thanks for coming.'

Her boyfriend, film director Reg Traviss, also paid tribute to the singer and said he had lost 'my darling who I loved very much'.

Winehouse battled drink and drug problems throughout her career and news of her death was quickly followed by suggestions that it could be related to one or the other.

The troubled artist had cancelled all tour dates and engagements last month after a series of erratic public appearances. She was booed at a shambolic performance in Serbia.


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